Water conservation program gets one-year reprieve in Tampa Bay area
By Rich Shopes
The Florida Friendly Landscaping program, which helps homeowners save on monthly water bills, will continue another year despite cuts that threatened to end the program.
The conservation effort had won accolades for helping consumers and saving millions of gallons of water yearly, but it fell victim to budget cuts when the Southwest Florida Water Management District voted in late July to end its $500,000 annual subsidy.
The cuts would have shut down the program in the 16 counties where it operates, including the Tampa Bay area, by Oct. 1. Now it seems the water-saving effort will live another year, at least in Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Hernando.
Tampa Bay Water has agreed to pick up the $161,000 tab for salaries and benefits for the program coordinators in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas.